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Samsung drags Apple back to court for a retrial over $400 million patent damages

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Another installment in The Trial That Never Ended

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The patent battle between Apple and Samsung over who owns the concept of smartphones with round corners (among other things) is back for another trial. The lawsuit was originally settled in 2012, with a court ordering Samsung to pay Apple more than $1 billion in damages. This figure was whittled down over the years by Samsung’s lawyers (it currently stands at $400 million) but a recent successful appeal from the South Korean electronics giant means the figure will now be reassessed at trial once again.

The judgement was made yesterday by Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, with the ruling spotted and shared on patent blog Foss Patents. Apple and Samsung now have until October 25th to propose a date for the retrial, although Mueller suggests there is a 30 percent chance that the two companies will settle out-of-court instead. Although there’s still a lot of money on the table, both sides have proved their willingness to go to the mats on this issue (an important signal to send out to future would-be litigators). They also have bigger fish to fry — namely an upcoming legal battle with Qualcomm, in which Apple and Samsung will be fighting on the same side.

Presuming the retrial goes ahead, the question under debate will be the exact mechanics used to calculate damages in this sort of case. Samsung’s smartphones have infringed on Apple’s design patents, that much is settled, but should the damages it pays be based on the total profit it made from its handsets, or a percentage of that profit? After all, says Samsung, even if it copied certain aspects of Apple’s smartphones, these were only ever a part of the appeal of its own products. The Supreme Court already ruled that a judgement based on total profits was unfair; now both sides have to argue it out all over again.